Cincinnati Easter Bunny Appears at Biden White House Easter Egg Roll | Cincinnati News | Cincinnati

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Photo: Jesse Fox

Jonn Schenz and the White House Easter Bunnies at a CityBeat interview in 2016

Cincinnati is home to many unique and wonderful things: goetta, 3-Ways, the first glass door oven. We also have the distinction of being the city that spawned the White House Easter Bunny. Several rabbits, in fact.

Since 1981, Schenz Theatrical Supply of Camp Washington has supplied the White House with Easter Bunny costumes. And that tradition has continued this year, despite the fact that the boutique’s beloved owner and costume mastermind, Jonn Schenz, passed away in 2020.

In a New York Times Instagram postyou can see the Schenz-designed stuffed bunny called “Junior Bunny” (there’s also a Mama and Papa Bunny) standing on the lawn during the Easter Egg Roll and chatting with US President Joe Biden.

The Easter Bunny, made by local Schenz Theatrical Supply, can be seen in the background of this photo (it's the giant white rabbit in a dress...) - PHOTO: INSTAGRAM.COM/NYTIMES

Photo: instagram.com/nytimes

The Easter bunny, made by local Schenz Theatrical Supply, can be seen in the background of this photo (it’s the giant white rabbit in a dress…)

According to the social media caption, it was the first time the Easter Egg Roll had taken place on the White House lawn since 2019 and was attended by 30,000 people, including friends, family, celebrities and the 2-year-old grandson of Biden, who is the president. quoted as saying “was still a bit ‘surprised’ at the sight of a giant Easter Bunny”.

Click to enlarge Schenz (second from right) and Junior Bunny with the Clintons - PHOTO: JESSE FOX

Photo: Jesse Fox

Schenz (second from right) and Junior Bunny with the Clintons

And while some Easter Bunny costumes can be terrifying (think Donnie Darko or 1980s mall bunny), the current family of White House Easter Bunnies are much more cuddly, with big eyes, eyelashes, button noses and cute outfits. This iteration of Mama, Papa and Junior Bunny can be seen in photos with the Clintons, Obamas, Trumps and now the Bidens – a long reign for the furry family.

Schenz began supplying the White House with bunny outfits under President Ronald Reagan. Speaking of his craftsmanship, this is only about the second set of Easter Bunny costumes made since then, all handcrafted by Schenz with love and skill in his Camp Washington boutique.

Schenz began making mascot costumes in 1975 for schools, businesses, and even Hollywood; MGM’s Pink Panther was one of the first creations. Schenz also designed Tom and Jerry, Frisch’s Big Boy, Charlie the Tuna, Slush Puppie, and a pre-Barney purple dinosaur. Companies across the country and around the world hired Schenz to make their mascots – at one time it was the nation’s leading costume maker – and that reputation led Schenz to create the Easter Bunny costumes for the celebrations. Easter annuals at the White House.

Click to enlarge The first generation of Schenz Easter Bunnies with the Reagans - PHOTO: JESSE FOX

Photo: Jesse Fox

The first generation of Schenz Easter Bunnies with the Reagans

“We got the bunny gig doing all these characters for different locations, and we got a call one Monday morning that the (Washington) DC client needed a bunny to put a 6ft Secret Service man on. 2 inches (in) to accompany Ronald Reagan,” Schenz said. CityBeat in a 2016 interview. “They were supposed to have it in hand by Friday.”

In the ’80s, if you put a mascot head on before the chemicals in the mold dried, “you’d be as high as a kite, baby,” Schenz laughed. But even with the short delay, the bunny was finished off and on the aforementioned Secret Service agent by the Easter Egg Roll.

The rest is history.

Previously, Schenz accompanied his creations to the White House, managing humans dressed in Easter Bunny costumes. He said the volunteers would rotate every hour and a half or so due to the sickening nature of the plush; Schenz once told the Washington Post the suit is “hotter than hell”.

Now that Schenz has passed away, it’s unclear who led his bunny family during this year’s festivities or who will make the next generation of White House Easter Bunnies. Schenz Theatrical Supply closed its doors this year after selling the company’s inventory, closing the chapter on a local — and national — legend. But at least this year, mom, dad and junior survived, celebrating Easter in the spotlight.

Read former arts and culture editor Jac Kern CityBeat interview Jonn Schenz and learn more about his fascinating story — and personality — at citybeat.com.

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Raymond I. Langston